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Geneva 2017: New Lexus LS 500h Answers the Porsche Panamera Hybrid

2018 Lexus LS 500h, the new hybrid flagship sedan | Photo: Lexus
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Guillaume Rivard
The luxury sedan can cruise at 140 km/h without burning fuel

The all-new 2018 Lexus LS 500h, the hybrid version of the automaker’s flagship LS 500 sedan unveiled in Detroit this past January, has made its world debut at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show.

The car features the new Global Architecture for Luxury Vehicles (GA-L) platform developed by Lexus, which guarantees a low centre of gravity and optimal weight distribution.

Despite an elongated wheelbase, the car sports a coupe-like design, thanks notably to its sleek silhouette. The cabin, meanwhile, is the beneficiary of a new approach focused on “progressive comfort”, which represents an interpretation of omotenashi, the Japanese art of selfless hospitality.

The 2018 Lexus LS 500h features a new multi-phase hybrid system developed by Lexus. The technology provides for a linear, direct and continuous acceleration experience, engendering a more gratifying driving experience, particularly when accelerating from a stop. Overall energy consumption has been improved, as has the emissions system.

Performance is driven by a 3.5L V6 gasoline engine working in tandem with two electric motors, with a maximum total power output of 354 hp. This system works with a 4-speed/CVT combo designed to recreate the experience of driving with a 10-speed transmission. The LS 500h can go from a stop to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds or, alternatively, cruise at speeds up to 140 km/h without calling on the gasoline engine.

Another significant change involves the battery, which is lighter and 20% smaller than the nickel-metal-hydride battery fitted into the previous LS 600h, yet offers a superior power density and increases the available cargo space in the trunk by 25 litres.

Unsurprisingly, a variety of advanced technologies complete the impressive safety arsenal of the new Lexus. In addition to the Lexus Safety System+, the LS 500h offers available intuitive pedestrian detection system – a world first. If the system detects a pedestrian in the path of the car and that a collision is imminent, the LS brakes automatically and will attempt to avoid the pedestrian while staying in its lane.

So, which of the new heavyweight hybrids unveiled in Geneva do you prefer: the Lexus LS 500h or the 2018 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid?

Guillaume Rivard
Guillaume Rivard
Automotive expert